The Saga of Eirik the Red.
Section of the early 14th century manuscript (Hauksbók) which
details how Eirik discovered Greenland and his son, Leif the Lucky,
found Vinland. For many years, scholars dismissed the existence of
Vinland as a fabrication of story-tellers. However, these sagas contain
information concerning actual voyages, discoveries and geographical knowledge.
The translation of this part of the saga read as follows:
One day the king [Olaf Tryggvason] spoke to Leif, saying, 'Do you mean to go out
to Greenland this summer?'
'That I do,' said Leif, 'if it be your will.'
The king answers, 'I believe it will be well, and you shall go thither on my errand
and announce the Christian faith there.'
Leif said it should be as he would, but this seemed to him a hard errand to carry out in Greenland.
The king said that he saw no man better suited to the task than he - 'and luck will go with you.'
'Only if I have yours,' says Leif. Leif puts out to sea and is long voyaging, and he
made landfall where he had never before expected to find land; there was self-sown wheat there, and
vines; there were trees of the kind called Maple - and all of these they brought some tokens; some
timbers so large that they were used for house-building.
Leif found men on a wreck and brought them home with him. In this he showed the
greatest nobility and manliness, as in much else, when he brought the Christian
faith to the land, and was ever since called Leif the Lucky.
Arnamagæan Collection, Copenhagen, N. 544, 4to: Hauksók,
beginning of the 14th century. Description and image found in Jónas Kristjánsson,
Icelandic Sagas and Manuscripts (Reykjavik, Iceland: Saga Publishing Co., ©1970) 12.
Image courtesy of The Arnamagnæan Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.